Renault Clio review - Engines, performance and drive
The Renault Clio is good fun to drive and rides well, but some engines aren’t especially strong
The Clio has garnered a reputation for driving thrills over the years that Renault has been keen to uphold; it follows that the current model should offer a good driving experience, hitting the supermini benchmarks for ride quality, handling and performance.
On the road, the Clio feels like a quality product. It seems planted on the move, with positive steering and a pointy front end that turns eagerly into corners. The suspension is well-judged, offering great pliancy over bumps big and small but sacrifices a little comfort in the name of body control. It runs the Ford Fiesta close in this department but ultimately isn’t quite as much fun.
The five-speed manual gearbox isn’t the best in its class; the high-mounted gear lever works well ergonomically but doesn’t have the most engaging gear change action. Changing gear is a more pleasurable experience in a Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo, but there’s nothing especially terrible about the Clio’s ‘box.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
The entry-level Clio engine is pretty basic – a 1.0-litre three-cylinder with 65bhp and 95Nm of torque, mated to a five-speed gearbox. It's probably best left for low-mileage, urban use; outright performance is best described as sluggish (0-62 mph takes 17.1 seconds) and it won’t prove as flexible as its turbocharged counterpart in everyday driving.
Our pick of the range – the TCe 90 – adds a turbocharger to the above, resulting in 90bhp, 160Nm of torque and a much more acceptable 0-62mph time of 12.2 seconds. It’s not the best small petrol engine in the Clio’s class – the 1.0-litre EcoBoost in the Fiesta feels stronger – but it’s a serviceable choice that blends zippy performance with decent running costs and low emissions. It comes with a six-speed manual as standard but can also be combined with a CVT auto.
Renault has also introduced hybrid power into the Clio range. The E-TECH Hybrid 140 uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, producing 138bhp. 0-62mph takes 9.9 seconds, with a 112mph maximum.
In this review
- 1Renault Clio reviewThe Renault Clio is a star of the supermini class – well-built, good to drive and packed with tech
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe Renault Clio is good fun to drive and rides well, but some engines aren’t especially strong
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Clio’s engines aren’t the strongest, but running costs and emissions are still very competitive
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Renault Clio’s interior is class-leading, especially in higher trims; strong infotainment also impresses
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIt’s not quite the most practical car in its class, but the Renault Clio still offers plenty of space
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Clio appears to be pretty reliable, and it’s one of the safest superminis on sale